Figaro sent down, French to start Friday

We have a rotation switch: Alfredo Figaro was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo after the game, and Luke French is coming back up. He’ll join the Tigers in Oakland, work briefly out of the bullpen there and then start Friday’s series opener at Minnesota.

“We just felt like giving French a shot against them,” manager Jim Leyland said.

The move seemed to have less to do with Figaro’s performance in Houston Saturday, though that certainly didn’t help, and a little more to do with the matchup. Adding French gives the Tigers a left-handed starter to put up against Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, though Leyland didn’t really want to talk about that.

French has been on an absolute tear recently, basically for the last month. He has given up four earned runs on 16 hits with 26 strikeouts over 23 innings in his last three starts, though he hasn’t won any of them. Further back than that, he has lasted at least 6 2/3 innings with two earned runs or less in five of his last six starts, bringing down his ERA for the year to 2.98.

24 Comments

No surprise there. French earned a shot, although I don’t know how much he’ll help against Mauer/Morneau. I hope he takes advantage of the opportunity, because we could use a lefty in the rotation. I’ll add my usual disclaimer that I’d just go with Miner.
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That was yet another good hard fought win today. Guys got hurt and stayed in there, scrappy bunch. Jackson is easily the most reliable and effective starter we have. As far as the hitting goes, there just isn’t going to be a lot of offense. We’ll win games like the one today. Expecting more just leads to frustration. It’s possible that Ordonez could warm up, but I’m not expecting it. Guillen, on the other hand, could actually come along and help in the second half. Till then, it is what it is and we’ll have to win with it. So far so good on that score.
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Valverde’s reaction to Inge’s homer was priceless, it kind of reminded me of Carmona after Pudge’s walkoff in August of 2006. And Brandon, head down and runs it out. “Just doin’ my job, folks.” I was also glad to see that JL had indeed sent Anderson on the play. The funny thing is, all those folks in Houston probably pointed to Rodney and said “THAT’S how a good closer does it..” :-)
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–Rich

great comments rich, I just wish they would somehow trade Ordonez, or release him, the guy is useless these days. I so hope French is an answer to one of the two slots we need help at.

Verlander should be starting in Minnesota, with French getting a start in Oakland.

Verlander is better against the lefties than anyone they can call up from AAA, lefty or righty.

I left for a Church Musical in the bottom of the 8th. With MLB on demand, I usually watch live or tape what I would miss. Told the wife I wasn’t as obsessed as she claims; didn’t tape the rest of the game. Wouldn’t you know that Mr. Inge answers the call again. Any takers for President of the Binge
Fan Club? How about it Dan? One quick comment about Nate.
Perhaps he’s been hurting for a long time; no major league pitcher has been worse lately. On to Oakland.

Greg

Well as I said in previous post, I didn’t think that they had it in them to win this one. I am happy to say that I was completely wrong. Although I will not retract my statement, that even though this team is in first place the offense isn’t good enough. It is putting way too much pressure on these pitchers, having to be perfect.
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I always have my concerns about starting a new pitcher at that stupid METRODOME. It is a horrible place to play baseball and a horrible place for opposing pitchers. Stupid things happen there and always seems to doom opposing teams. I don’t believe that there is a better home field advantage than that stupid place. (AND YES I MEAN STUPID).
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I am just grateful that they won today. I don’t think my spouse could of handled me with another loss to to sub .500 team. Although I have to say, with that offense I cannot believe that they are sub. 500, amazing.

I am hoping that Guillen comes back before it is time for the team to decide if they should have to let Ordonez vest, Maybe with him back it will make it that much easier to buy him out.

They stole one from us, we stole one from them. The second game wasn’t close. You have to feel 1-2 was as good an outcome as we could have hoped for. This Houston team looked solid and they have been hot in June. Better to win the last game than the first.
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Inge continues to make his bid for Tiger MVP, at least for the first half. I think he’s become the field leader, maybe the clubhouse leader. He plays the game hard start to finish. An excellent example. Anyone have the GWRBI stats handy?
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That was a huge walk Marcus patiently drew in the 9th.
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Dan or Rich, you called the French call up. What the heck, let him pitch in the Metrodome. Baptism by fire. Maybe his personality and demeanor will help him there, plus he’s a lefty to hopefully counter the two M’s.
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A lot of negativism towards Magglio. I thought he had some hard swings today. He should continue swinging aggressively and maybe his timing and eye will come back. I’m not ready to give up on him. Maybe I’m too sentimental or too loyal but he has produced a ton for this team and he deserves a measure of respect, at least for his offensive production. This drop off makes no logical sense. Maybe it is his eyes Rich. I may be the only one left but I still believe he’ll find a way out of this funk he’s in. If he does, this team will be tough to catch in the second half.

Marty,
Always appreciate your upbeat assessments. I’m too polyanish myself. I too hope Ordonez resurfaces, but my hopes wane more each time he plays.

Greg

Give the Astros Gallaraga and Ordonez for Berkman and then DH him or give him spot starts at first and let Cabrera DH when he does. Having said that, I would be curious to see how many of Berkman’s homers have come to that short porch in left at Minute Maid. A lot of homeruns there are outs in Detroit. I still think that Berkman could fill our #5 or #6 (if Brandon bats 5th) slot and add some much needed punch and protection to the middle of our lineup.

What to do with Thames? Let him play left and then replace him late in games (for defense) with JA or RR or DK.

I like Magglio, but since the second half of last year, he has lost his swing and power stroke. I think his batting practice technique of intentionally hitting so many balls to right has messed up his swing. He rarely pulls the ball any more. I think if he has any chance of getting out of this funk, he needs to work exclusively (in batting practice) on getting his pull stroke back in order.

I have to say earlier in the year, I had little faith in Lyon, but he has come on lately. While Zumaya has had a few struggles (mainly of his own doing and inability to throw strikes), I would like to see Ryan Perry get his act together and get back soon. He has such great stuff, but he needs to establish better command.

If French doesn’t cut it, then I think we have no option, but to start Zack Miner. We need .500 out of our #5 starter and we will be in great shape. BTW, if we traded Gallaraga like I suggested above, why not give French or Perry? a permanent shot in the rotation

I’m with you Marty, I still am not ready to give up on Maggs. I am also too sentimental when it comes to my team though! Great “walk off” by Brandon – wasn’t a walk off but basically it was – such fun to see clutch hitting. Sure, our offense isn’t as great as we hope, but the Team is getting it done, and that is what counts. We lost the series, but on to Oakland – feeling good about what I am seeing.

I like the move as I think French will give the Tigers a better effort against MN that Figaro. I do like Figaro’s arm and think he will make a good big league pitcher. A lefty again MN will likely do better even though Mauer hits leftys well. Hopefully, French will keep Morneau in the park. I would keep JV in his regular rotation spot and not move him. It is to early in the season to move your pitchers around to match a certain team. Minor has been doing well lately and the more times he comes out of the pen to get those double plays the longer he stays in the pen.
Mark

Great win yesterday. My heart was pounding but fun to watch. I believe that Maggs has just aged and can no longer be productive. It happens quickly often in baseball. Ted Williams won back to back batting championships in 1957 and 1958 hitting .388 and .328 respectively and then in 1959 he hit.256 and the next year he was out of baseball. It’s just one example of how quickly it can happen. It is a very common occurance. Nothing against Maggs, it just happens. I wish him well but the Tigers can’t afford to keep him in the lineup all year. They have to move on. It’s just business and Maggs understands that. Another team will surely pick him up but we’re in a pennant race and sentiment can’t enter into the equation.

I did a rare (for me) search into stats, and found DP%. This is the percentage of times a pitcher gets a DP in a DP situation. Among the regulars, Miner’s 19% is second only to Porcello’s 23%. Half of Zach’s 8 DPs came in the first month of the season and while he was starting, which makes sense since there were more innings pitched.
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Make of this what you will. I don’t think it proves Miner is better or worse in either role. What stood out to me was Porcello’s 23%, and how much that’s obviously helped him. The same would be true of Zach as a starter, and is a big reason why he’s effective.
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Hopefully French will claim the 5th rotation spot, but if he doesn’t, you have to start looking at Miner at some point.
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–Rich

Am impressed with this decision. Figaro showed some potential but certainly not in the immediate sense. I figured they might give him another go and am very glad they didn’t. It indicates that they realize the importance of every game.
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I kinda thought something was up with Robertson and thought they might be ‘hoping and dreaming” that he could provide a start for them. He ends up on the mysterious DL list, which I admit was a total surprise to me. It was pretty clear that Nate is not gonna give us much in any role this year. I would be surprised to see him back on the roster at all. This way they avoid the bad PR with releasing him.
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I would not be shocked to see DD find a way to unload Ordonez. Nor would I be overly surprised to see a deal down with Zumaya. GMan has tradeability but I don’t see them giving up on him just yet.
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Inge’s HR was magnificent. I did not expect that from him and though Valverde would eat him up.
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BTW, doesn’t Valverde have the most unorthodox way of coming to his ‘set” position? Weird.

Dan, I agree. They seem serious about winning it this year. Might sound like a strange thing to say, but it’s not always the case. I’m pretty sure Mr. Ilitch is dead set on getting the economy-torn area something to cheer about.
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With that the case, I think they’ll have no qualms with moving Ordonez if that becomes necessary. A way will be found. I’m not so sure about Zumaya, though.
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Nate has what sounds like a ganglion cyst impinging on a nerve. That is a minor procedure for most, but in this case we’re talking about his pitching arm. Not sure how this will play out.
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I thought Valverde was even slower than Betancourt over at Cleveland, if that’s possible. He made Rodney look like he was working at a Verlander-like pace.
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So you’ve got a couple of primetime games this week. Most of us will have that 1 AM baseball going on. My schedule allows me to watch, but that doesn’t make it any less strange.
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–Rich

Here we are , 4 games above Minnesota, with them breathing on our necks, knowing we play them end of the week.
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Nobody is going to deal a pitcher right now, unless we get some scraps, or has beens, like Paul Byrd? Come on.. suck it up. We’re no 1 in our division, trying to take a run and head to the playoffs in the fall, and many of you are talking trade. We need Ordonez, Guillen, Laird, Inge, Granderson etc.
I am happy with the make up of the team. It does surprise me to see the strengh we have gotten from Verlander, Jackson, and Porcello. Add one more, whether it be Minor, and then Gallaraga, and you have a good team. Excellant going into playoff mode!
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I am a bit surprised at the runs scored, that the hitting has dwindled, but it can come back when the hunt is on, as easily. As far as Pudge being gone, yes I miss him. Matt Nokes, and Gary Sheffield, heck no..

Lets just enjoy baseball.. DD is going to sit still till at least days before the deadline to add players into the fall classic, or acquisitions for next year. That might only be the time you’ll see a possible send off of Maggs and a pitcher to be named.. It won’t be Leylands starting lineup! Rick Knapp has worked too hard for him, to start over.

Ooooh, good luck there, Mopar. You just KNOW the trade rumor mill will be grinding the next few weeks. :-) On the Fox game of the week, Ken Rosenthal will stand up over in that firstbase box and announce with all certainty who’s being traded where, and for whom. And everybody will lose their collective minds.
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I’m with you, I hate rumors and I dread the end of July every season. Some GMs actually feel pressured to make a deal, any deal, just so they can say they’ve done something. Unless we take a nosedive between now and then, I’d tread lightly in that trade market.
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You know, as team oriented as I am, I don’t put much stock into individual awards and accomplishments. I’m making an exception for this year’s All Star Game, as I think it’s Brandon Inge’s time to make the squad. If Joe Maddon, whom I like, calls Leyland for suggestions, which I think he will, I hope JL names Brandon first.
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And I hope Cabrera will NOT make it because they’ll suck him into that homerun derby and ruin his swing for the rest of the season. And I’m probably in a minority here.
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–Rich

Man I hope we are not going to witness another shabby offensive effort against another sub .500 and over.5.00 ERA pitcher. Used to be a time you see aguy with poor numbers lined up against us and you started to drool. Now it seems we are intent on saving their season.

We got the out on the rundown, but I don’t like to see us running the guy towards home plate. Got to give the ball up and run him back towards third– that way if you drop the ball at least the guys back on third.

–Ed

Well we were embarrassed by a lousy team that hasn’t been hitting and a guy who has bbeen pummeled all year.
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I hate it when the team plays like this and they slip into this mode when you least expect it.
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Nobody looked particularly good out there today on our squad.
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I’ve said it before and it bears repeating.–you can’t count on Porcello being a front-of the rotation guy this year. He gives up too many hits and doesn’t strike out enough to help him out of jams. He has god stuff, and has the poise that you need from a good starter but he is not going to win at a 2 to 1 pace all year.

A loss is a loss, going to happen. There is still a series to win before heading to Twinkie-ville. Got a kick out of Rod Allen’s comment after the rundown just as they were heading to commercial, saying that was a high school play!

One of the worst games of the year IMO. Must have been awful for those Tiger fans on EDT—at least I am on Pacific time!
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Our RHB are not coming through against the southpaws. Marcus needs to contribute, Raburn, Polanco and Ordonez not doing much either. Granderson should simply be sat against some of these lefties. The problem is that whoemever you replace him with isn’t hitting the southpaws either.
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I think these next 2 games should determine the fate of Magglio Ordonez. If he can’t come around in this park facing LHP against this team–he needs to ride the pine.
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I suspect Santiago will get a shot at 3B tomorrow. If I were JL I’d DH Brandon tonight and sit him tomorrow before that much needed day off.
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Dusty Ryan played a handful of games at 1B in Erie last year. You could load up the lineup with him at first, Cab as DH or even at 3B, and Raburn, Ordonez and Thames in the OF

With the trading deadline looming, one has to wonder also about what to do with Anderson. I don’t think he will ever be able to hit enough to justify keeping him. Weak ground ball after weak ground ball. He should watch Ichiro a little more.
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it’s time to see if zumaya has any value on the trade market. he’ still just potential. i’d take most any established player if that were possible. the same goes for rodney, who likely has more value, though less ultimate potential

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